What Are the Differences in the Waiting Period of a Woman Due to Irrevocable Divorce and Due to the Death of Her Husband?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: What are the differences between the idda (waiting period) of a woman due to divorce and due to the death of her husband as it relates to perfume and leaving the house?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

According to the Hanafi school:

– If a woman is in her waiting period due to being irrevocably divorced, then she must abstain from perfume, adornment, kohl, oil, henna and the like. Also, she may not leave the house by day or by night.

– If a woman is in her waiting period due to being widowed, then she must also abstain from perfume, adornment and the like. She may, however, leave the house during the day and part of the night, yet must spend most of the night in her house.

[Mawsili, Ikhtiyar]

As a dispensation (such as if the woman must work, etc.), then according to the Maliki school, a woman in the waiting period may leave the house during the day. This ruling applies to both divorced as well as widowed women.

The limits are specifically from slightly before fajr until before isha. Yet some Malikis mention that what is appropriate is that she may leave in the morning when people start going out in general, according to the custom of that time and place. This is because the main concern is that she be safe from corrupt people (out at night or very early morning) who might harm her.

According to this position, her leaving the house is not limited to “needs” per se. Aside from work, she may go out in the daytime for other reasons too, such as to attend a wedding, religious lecture, etc.

[Dusuqi/Dardir, Hashiyat Dusuqi ala Sharh Kabir; Hattab, Mawahib Jalil Sharh Khalil]

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani